Surviving the crappy new year prequel


Go with the despondency of the days after Christmas by revisiting bad habits and making tear juice, writes KEVIN GILDEA

The festive period can be stressful, especially those days after Christmas that hang ominously before us, like a shaky rope bridge over a ravine, a ravaaaaaaaaargh . . .

What is the nature of this anxious period?

Scientists who have studied it have identified the following composition: 25 per cent new year’s resolutions; 36 per cent the person sitting next to you; 14 per cent bloatedness and melancholy; 4 per cent Chitty Chitty Bang Bang; 2 per cent “Why can’t Enda Kenny talk to us the way the Queen talks to Britain?”; 1 per cent it’s not just the pudding I’d like to set fire to; and 18 per cent “other”.

New Year’s resolution

The pressure of new year’s resolutions lingers over Christmas like a vague threat. It’s in the back of your head as you carve the turkey, it’s there as you quaff the sherry, and as you cheer on the Nazis in The Sound of Music.

It’s a tension maker – like Mick Wallace in a technical group, like Eamon Gilmore at a Labour Party meeting, like Leo Varadkar in a group of humans.***

It’s a presence that makes itself felt, like Gorgonzola, the mythical Greek cheese monster.**

Here are two things you can do to escape the oppressive cloud of new year’s resolutions.*

One thing: forget turning over a new leaf: turn over an old leaf instead. Turning over an old leaf is much more fun and it’s easy. Make a list of bad things you used to do, choose one and start doing it again. You’ll find it a lot easier than giving up something and you’ll have the satisfaction of knowing you’re packing more into your life. They say people regret only things they didn’t do in their lives, so no regrets when you lie on your death Futon (except maybe the niggling doubt that you wouldn’t be so sick if you hadn’t taken up smoking again).

Thing two: despite the aspirations of self-help books, humans are, on the ground, in the flesh and up the creek, a negative bunch.

Of course there are exceptions: business people, politicians, stockbrokers, entrepreneurs and investors (they’re all really positive upbeat people – everything is rosy when these people are about).

With this in mind it’s best to make a resolution that you know you will be able to achieve by giving up something that you know you will resist.

On December 30th I take up hitting myself in my own face, then at midnight, I give it up. The results are impressive: thanks to my iron will, I never punch myself again. Knowing this I can enjoy the entire Christmas period and, oh, what a positive start to the new year!

Tinsel decay

Scientists have discovered a surprising cause of sluggishness in this sludgy time: tinsel!

Tinsel has a half life of 12 days but recently scientists discovered it releases a cocktail of dangerous chemicals which scientists have named: Toxic Tired Fun.

Tinsel, as we all know, is actually a type of worm, from the same family as the glow worm, but much more extrovert.

Governments all over world have demanded an end to tinsel farming but America, the largest producer, has refused on the grounds that it would mean the end of Tinseltown, where most of the world’s tinsel is farmed.

Organic tinsel worms are specially produced worms who refuse to live in soil and perform wormy gyrations if subjected to the song I Am What I Am. For years US conspiracy theorists and limbo dancers have claimed Michael Jackson was one of these tinsel worms who got too big for his boots and conquered the world with a combination of pop genius and human unease.

So remove toxic atmosphere by destroying all tinsel on the 27th and buy a new bunch for the 31st. New tinsel will reinvigorate your holiday period and help you look forward to a more spangly January.

The awkward silence . . .

. . . that follows somebody bringing up something you had all agreed you would not bring up

Complex tears

These sluggish days often “end in tears”. Tearologists say the tears of a Christmas family argument are some of the most complex tears known to man. Christmas tears have hints of hopes dashed and self-recrimination; the whiff of, “I can’t believe it’s ended this way again”; undercurrents of Brussels sprout/chocolate; the slight hint of big-name eau de cologne; a heavy hint of battery absence; and the nutty, oaky, vanilla, tannin tang of somebody who doesn’t know what they’re talking about.

It makes for a dense brew that is resistant to all but the simplest optimist (business people, entrepreneurs, stockbrokers, politicians, loons).

But you can make this work for you: collect tears in an eye bag and when you have enough (a binbag full), distil the tears until you have a gloopy syrup.

This tear syrup makes an ideal base for a new year’s punch that offers a tincture of reality to offset the ludicrous hope represented by high flying fireworks.

Make masks out of Christmas wrapping paper and wear them

On December 27th, wake up to wearing Christmas paper masks. It’s a psychedelic skin graft!

Think of the benefit of hiding bloated, over-stuffed puffy visages behind moving oval excitement palettes.

Christmas paper masks are also great because you’re not sure who you’re arguing with, so after the argument there are no lingering hard feelings, left lingering, like the lingering stink of a fart, let off by a lingering man.

And of course, after surviving the four days of the slumpy time, there is the uber excitement on the morning of January 1st, of ripping off the wrapping paper and seeing the excited look on your family’s faces as they become shiny new presents to you.

The transformation of your family into gifts will give you the joy with which to attack January with the vigour of a businessman, stockbroker, entrepreneur, politician, banker, investor, loon, sociopath, or 10-headed bastard monster.

Admit defeat

So we’ve looked at ways to make this morbid period “nicer”. The other way is to make it deliberately bleaker and more spartan, and so implement a physical and psychological detox.

In holiday terms

In holiday terms it’s jetting off to Las Vegas, then popping into Loch Derg, before jetting back to Las Vegas.

Decorate your tree with fear

On December 27th, replace all your happy sparkly decorations with “dire warning decorations”. The fairy comes down from the top of the tree to be replaced by Angel(a) Merkel. Glossy baubles are replaced by 3D models of Michael Noonan’s head.

Then after the lethargy, take them down, and put all your lovely decorations back as before, except for the angel on top of the tree: replace that with Enda Man and enjoy the happy feeling as you fit that tree right up there.

Bad charades

It’s not a film, TV or a book – it’s Prime Time, Vincent Browne and Panorama. Guess the annoying situation being exposed. After four days of playing bad charades, The Sound of Music will sound like the sound of music. You’ll be ready to enjoy the new year.

Happy new year everybody!

***Topical joke

**Cracker joke

*Just an asterisk (joke)

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